The “chemsex”, sex under drugs, is today a question of public health

The “chemsex”, sex under drugs, is today a question of public health

“Chemsex, a worrying phenomenon.

The phenomenon of “chemsex” (pronounced “kemsex”), brought into the spotlight with the Palmade affair, arose at the end of the 2010s. It intensified during the health crisis and the various confinements. contraction of chemical (“chemical”) and sexthis practice consists of the consumption of psychoactive substances in order to have sexual intercourse. “This ritualized use that we find exclusively in men who have sex with other men [HSH] has nothing to do with the recreational use of products like alcohol or cannabis… associated with sexuality”, specifies Jean-Victor Blanc, addiction psychiatrist at the Saint-Antoine hospital (AP-HP), who opened a consultation specializing in chemsex five years ago. According to him, between 3% and 5% of the population consumes a “recreational” psychotropic drug before sex.

For a long time, the practice of chemsex was considered an epiphenomenon, but the appearance of geolocated dating applications for sexual purposes, such as Grindr, and cathinones, new very inexpensive synthetic drugs (a few tens of euros) that you can have it delivered directly to your home, have amplified its development. They are called 3-MMC, 3-CMC, GHB, MDMA, methamphetamine… and are consumed orally, intranasally or intravenously (“slam”). Their users testify to the increase in libido and performance, their disinhibiting and entactogenic effects – which increase the ability to empathize with partners.

While the phenomenon has grown, its prevalence remains difficult to quantify. In 2019, according to the Apaches sociological survey (expectations and pathways related to chemsex), carried out by the French Observatory for Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT) for the Directorate General for Health, 13% to 14% of MSM had taken part in a chemsex session over the past twelve last months. This figure reaches 25% to 30% for users of dating applications and between 30% and 50% of patients followed in infectious diseases. Proportions that make it a subject of public health.

“Chemsexers” in trouble

The Chemsex 2022 report “, submitted on March 17, 2022 to Olivier Véran, then Minister of Health, reported on a meta-analysis of 38 studies, estimating the prevalence of this practice from 3% to 29% among MSM in the United States and in France. Western Europe. “Grindr, one of the main gay dating applications, claimed in 2020 more than 500,000 users in France, which could give rise to a very rough estimate of 100,000 to 200,000 people potentially concerned”explained the authors.

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